Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Importance of Coaching

by Jerrod "Thousand Eyes" Steis

Coaching is rapidly becoming a huge thing in LoL, especially since the start of this season as teams move players from their starting roster and pick up brand new people. Riot actually officially announced that they are recognizing coaches as a part of a team now. You can’t deny that coaching is as big a part of the game as the players themselves at this point.

Coaches play a very large role, albeit behind the scenes, although every team uses their coaches differently. Some are purely for strategizing while others will have duties like analyzing games and keeping morale high. Either way, they are extremely important in guiding a team to a win.

The best example and probably the most prominent coach is Locodoco from TSM. Locodoco joined the team around Week 4 of the Summer Split. TSM had just come off a great Spring Split, but they still faltered in the playoffs. Early on in their Summer Split though, things were going rough. They had already lost over half as many games as the last split. With Loco's arrival, there was an almost immediate change in the general feeling of the team. They ended up winning all of their games the next week.

From an outsiders standpoint, over the next few weeks, it seemed as if TSM made no large progress, but when you took into account the amount of roster swaps and drama TSM had going throughout the year, one could easily make an argument that Loco was an integral part in keeping that team moving forward. Also, once Loco was able to finally take some time and meet with his team for a bit without the added pressure of upcoming games, look what happened. They won the NA LCS Playoffs and did extremely well in Worlds.

I can see a lot of teams making moves this off-season to pick up analysts and coaches. Not only that, but I think coaches will obtain highly increased recognition this upcoming season. This past season showed that strategy can change week to week, not only in champion picks, but in prioritization of objectives and lanes. Riot is adding a lot of map changes and it’s going to be hard for players to keep track of strategizing for their team as well as try to lane and win in the game.

Shotcalling is a different aspect, but quite similar. The main difference being that shotcalling is done in the game whereas coaching is done outside of the game. Coaches look more at theoretical picks and situations and how those things relate to each other. Coaches are a lot less reactive in what they do. It’s actually why someone can be an amazing coach and not be all that great at the game. It’s a lot different strategizing the game and playing it, especially if in-game you don’t recall your strategies.

Being able to see the game as a whole rather than just your champion is a major part of being a coach. You have to run almost every situation in your head and play it out from picks and bans onward. It can be an amazing aspect to add to your team and pull yourself from mediocre to great and I’m excited to see how teams handle this possibility in the coming months.


by Jerrod "Thousand Eyes" Steis

Monday, October 27, 2014

Out With The Old…?

by Sam "PikaPea"

As a new era ends - a new one begins. Yet another season of League of Legends comes to an end and now is the time to get hype. New rosters are being created. Updated map, new items, new metas, nerfs and buffs. Let's not forget the new rules that have been introduced into the LCS and two extra teams have been added to the line-up. One of the things many of you are excited about is that your rank will be cleared for you to start the grind all over again. As for me? New skins, of course, and splash arts.

Let me introduce myself. I've been playing league for a little over a year now. More to say I started around all-stars 2013. I wasn't the best player, still am not. But I love the community (aside from the trolls and baddies that should never pick up a keyboard). I watched as rosters got shuffled and saw some of my favorite pros go to other teams or retire from playing. Along came Worlds of 2013 and I watched as SKT Telecom T1 hoisted the Summoners Cup and became our Korean overlords. At this point, I wasn't as deep into League itself or as hyped for the LCS/OGN. But little by little, teams I once disliked for my own silly reasons grew on me. My knowledge for the game grew. I became addicted to staying in the know. I had to know all changes being done. Followed everything League related, and here I am now.

A year later, I'm as addicted to League of Legends as smokers are to cigarettes. We watched new legends rise, old ones fade. Worlds was amazing nonetheless, but we all know only one team can be the best in the world. And that team was Samsung Galaxy White. League of Legends basically went from having a small number of fans and views - to over millions from all around the world. This is what we're part of. Believe it or not, it's history - the first game to become as huge as it has, bigger even than StarCraft. This is thanks to us, the fans, community and gamers that devote all of our free time to something as simple as a game.

So here we are, it's off-season. All I can do is look back from where I began to where I am myself. I struggled like any other player to get out of bronze, to get out of silver, and to finally reach gold. I became so devoted that for an entire year, I spent hours watching streamers that have showed me ways of improving or watched pro's YouTube channels. I religiously watched LCS and would often stay up late just to watch OGN. I made it my homework to keep up with changes minute or large. It's not just a game anymore, nor just a hobby, but a way of life for me. It's become something amazing, to get to meet so many others like me. To get followed by some pro players is like getting known by a famous celebrity. That's how much of an impact League of Legends has been in my life.

Season 5 will be another year. So much to look forward to. Already we heard rumors of roster swaps. It has been announce that LMQ is no more, and will be a new team in the making. Dignitas very own Michael “ImaQTPie” Santana announced on twitter his departure from Dig, later on stream he mention he had no intention or interest in joining any other team. Other possible rumor is that NintendudeX, MakNooN and Nien have something fishy going on. Let me remind you, this information is based solely off rumors and nothing has been a confirmed leak. Aren't you already excited? So much build up already and it's only a few days into the official off-season. There's at least eleven current pro players off contract. Thanks to @Alexpenn "NA LCS Players off contract now (1/3): Zion, Crumbzz, Shiphtur, imaqtpie, KiWiKiD, Seraph, Voyboy, ackerman, NoName, Mor, Vasilii." for making updates of it. And three free agents so far in EUW impaler, Alex Ich, and Dexter. Curiosity of to what will happen, who will they join if any, and what's to come. Are you hyped yet?

We've all seen and heard about the new expansion, and changes to the map. It will look like a new map entirely, with buffs being added to it, new look for baron and dragon, as well as them being buffed. Part of me is excited, but the other part can't help but think that adding buffs to the rift will make the game a lot different and more one sided. On a plus side, it gives you more reasons to fight and more objectives to defend. As far as the meta goes. I can't say I know which way the tables will turn. I just hope we get to see new champions being played. Seeing the same champs for an entire season has its toll. I hope the pool of champions used expands and we start seeing champs like Ashe, Diana, Azir, Varus and Shaco just to see something different. I would like to see the potential other champs have or could have with the proper mechanics. That would include the new and improved Sion along with Gnar. During Season 4 we had seven new champs. Can you imagine how many more are to come? Including reworks, who they will nerf or buff? Not to mention our greatest addiction, who will get new skins in the upcoming season?

It's unbelievable the amount of growth of this community that everyone thought was just a game. It's not just a game. It's a way of living. The fans and community help create and build up the hype, It’s all of you who have helped the game shape to what it is now. The creators, for giving us what we want, something to look forward to. Think of it this way, if League of Legends was never created, you wouldn't know nor have gotten to know half the people you do. Whether it was through twitter or playing the game. Not to mention many have met in real life after some time, and some have built a family, all with the one simple common thing that has taken over your life: League of Legends. I know that the struggle gets real out in the real world. And we all look for our escape, and many of us found it playing video games, and living in our virtual world. Some don't understand how some game can make us happy. But I know that feeling all too well. When that one play makes you get up off your chair, when that one cute pro player you fangirl/fanboy about notices you. When you get your first Penta, or steal someone else’s. When you get retweeted by @lolesports. Those moments are the ones we enjoy. They are what make us smile or maybe it's just me? But I'm ready, my body is ready. Season 5 here we come. Please be good to us, gives us a good show, let there not be as many trolls while I grind my way out of whatever placement I get and let the hype begin!


by Sam "PikaPea"

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Support Lanes 101: Warding

by Jerrod "Thousand Eyes" Steis

So we’re now at what I would consider one of the most important parts of the game, whether you play support or not. Warding. I always live by the principle “Warding wins games.” It’s not only important to see the enemy to know where they are, but that same info tells you where they aren’t.

I’m sure if you watch professional League play you’ll see teams making moves in the game to mirror or counter what their enemy is doing. This seems simple enough watching with both teams vision on your screen, but if you watch a stream or only one players view you’ll see how assumptions need to be made based on the enemies movements while visible. It’s easy to say that you’d rather spend that 75-100 gold on an item that will make your in-fight presence bigger, but that presence won’t mean anything if the enemy gets the jump on you.

Obviously, for supports, warding is an even more integral part of the game. As a support, you are the one in charge of wards in the game. You need to do everything in your power to spread vision around for your team, lord knows they won’t. How many times have you pinged for a teammate that someone was heading down their way only to see them stay too long and get caught out? If the area is warded and they see a fed mid laner heading their way, they will absolutely move because it’s tangible to them that they’re in danger.

Throughout this article I’m going to cover a bunch of topics such as when to buy your Sightstone/Trinket/Pink Wards, and warding areas at different points of the game. One thing I want to make sure I talk about though, because I don’t ever see warding guides cover this and I had to learn the hard way, is when to ward those areas. I remember starting out and seeing all of these places I was told to ward, but I would always die when trying to place them. Warding is complicated. You need your vision to be deep enough to be relevant to where the game is currently, but also not too deep that you get caught trying to place it.

Purchasing your Items

Trinket - Starting out every game you’ll almost always get a warding totem. Sweeper is useful, but the cooldown on it early in the game just isn't worth trading a free refreshable ward. Unless you know your jungler is going to camp bottom early, having a warding totem for lane bush vision is extremely useful. Outside of that use, if you run out of wards early, your and your ADC can cycle your wards and keep vision out in the river constantly.

Usually you’ll want to swap your trinket after your first back and you’ll absolutely want to swap it after your Sightstone is purchased. There’s no need to hold on to that free ward when you get 4 every time you head back to base. Pick up a sweeper and start paying attention to where the enemy is placing their own wards, if you weren't already. You've probably seen their support or ADC leaving the lane for a little bit, they’re probably going and placing a ward. Keep an eye out for when they leave and if you don’t see the ward actually get placed check one of the locations we’re gonna cover later on in the article. Chances are they placed it in a similar spot. Be aware though that it takes two full minutes for the trinket to be usable after swapping.

As for upgrading to Oracle Lens, that is a bit trickier. You see, you already have to wait until you hit level 9 to upgrade it. It doesn't change the cooldown or enhance the ability of the sweeping portion at all. It does, however, give you true vision around your champion for 10 seconds. Invaluable for searching areas like Baron or Dragon pits, and if the enemy has an assassin with stealth (Akali, Shaco, Rengar) or a champion like the demon spawn Teemo, who will place invisible traps everywhere. Even if you miss with your initial sweep, you’ll be able to pick it up as you walk around for a bit and clear a large area of enemy vision. Causing them to run right into you in some cases as they try and get it back.

Sightstone - Sightstone is going to be a buy on every single support, there is literally no reason to avoid it. Delay it, maybe, but it will always be bought. With the amount of wards you’ll need to place, this item is basically saving you an insane amount of money. It gives you enough wards to cover your full amount out at one time and then an extra one as well.

You’ll get all of this for the low low price of just 800 gold. Insanely cheap for the health you get in addition to the wards. You should buy this once you have the cash, depending on what you’re looking for in lane. If you delay it you need to realize that you have to continue to buy wards.

If you decide to spend the money on upgrading your support item, it can be perfectly fine. I usually do this on lane dominant supports because it gives me more presence in lane. Sona is a good example of this since she is all about poking and auto attack harassing her opponent down. Just remember to get some wards as well on your back. If you only have exactly 500 gold, do not only upgrade your support item and just go back to lane. Instead buy a Ruby Crystal and green ward. If not, get something cheaper and a few green and pink wards.

Upgrading to Ruby Sightstone is a lot less important, in fact maybe one of your final buys. It costs another 800 gold for only 250 health and an extra ward. Not worth the cost. That gold can be better invested elsewhere. Especially since you can only have three wards out at a time.

Pink Wards - These things are so powerful and people don’t realize it. A permanent ward that reveals all wards surrounding it and anything else stealthed as well. It isn't invisible itself, but it takes five shots to kill. I try and keep at least one on me at all times, even if I have one out already.

Pink Wards can be used in a bunch of unconventional ways. Placing multiple in one area can force the enemy to stay and clear vision for a lengthy amount of time. Placing one in an area you know the enemy will clear can bait them into death. If you’re intelligent with your placement too, you can get a lot of vision for a long time as well. Pink wards are going to be a special part of this article so we’ll cover that in more detail later.

Ward Placing

So getting wards is something decently simple to understand, but placing them is a whole other story. For a while now every summoner has been limited to three green wards on the map at one time and one pink ward. This is because in the older days, supports would generally get the burden of all vision placement, and they were basically used as roaming vision bots that had some abilities.

Now you have to be smarter with your wards. Each one will cover an area for up to 3 minutes and if you ward the wrong area you’re going to assume you’re safe when in actuality you’re getting jumped on. This can be even more detrimental than not warding at all sometimes depending on your playstyle.

When you ward you’re trying to get vision in an area that is important for some reason. Sure getting that ward over by the enemy blue buff is great and will give you an awesome amount of vision, but how deep are you going into enemy territory to get that ward down? Is the enemy even going to pass by that ward realistically? Could they collapse on you easily? These are all things you need to think about before you go to ward.

You can effectively ward defensively or offensively depending on the situation and it’s going to be different depending on what you need. You have to ask yourself, “Where do I need to see for either my team or myself to make smart and well-informed decisions. When you break it down to something simple like that it becomes a lot easier to ward.

Early Game

In the ultra-early game (I.E. before minions spawn), you might want to take a look at the enemy team and determine what the chances are for an early invade.

Blue Side

Here’s an example of how to handle an invade while on the blue side of the map. If the enemy has shown signs of trying to take your red buff, these are the places to ward. You’ll most likely only need to use your warding totem since it should last long enough to get you the info you need. If you know for sure that the enemy is coming you can place a ward on the red buff itself or in the bush to see them taking it.

Red Side

And here’s the same view and three wards if you’re on red side. Defending and warding blue buff is a much different task than red buff. Blue has a much smaller area to cover around it and if the enemy is trying to sneak in, there’s only one way to do it. Otherwise they’re just going to brute force it through the dragon pit ramp. Once again, trinket should be all you need here

Once you get into laning, and even further on in the game, both sides ward about the same areas, but the reasoning for warding the areas is different depending on which side you’re on. What I mean by this is depending on your side the same ward could be offensive or defensive. Let’s look at bot lane vision from the view of a blue side support.

Blue Side

Basically you’re going to want vision of the bottom bushes at almost all points of the laning phase. Whether this is with a ward or with your own person can be dependent on the matchup and strength levels at the time. You’re going to want to keep an eye on supports like Leona or Blitzcrank so vision here is crucial against them. Usually a trinket ward can suffice here in order to use your three minute green ward for more crucial and protective areas such as dragon or gank paths.

The river wards are going to keep an eye on any jungler that would gank you early. Keep an eye on where the jungler starts (Usually indicated by whichever enemy lane shows up late) and assume that the first possible gank could occur around three minutes. This is a problem if the enemy jungler started opposite from you as you’ll need vision in the river to make it safe to move up past that time. Generally, the deeper ward in front of the dragon pit is the better ward since it gives vision of the enemy sooner, but the one in the river bush is a quicker dirtier ward that lets you get back into lane faster at the cost of deep vision. If the jungler started on the same side as you you can hold off on that ward a bit longer to have the vision and safety a bit later

The pink wards are for when you have an aggressive jungler who wants to try and make plays early. You’ll want to keep an eye out for when the enemy support puts a ward down and put the pink near that area. These are general spots I’ve listed that will usually get warded at some point. Having a pink in one of these areas gives your jungler the go ahead that they aren’t wasting time being seen if they try and gank your lane and can be great at giving you a nice lead if you can get the gank off.

Red Side

Very similar thought process here. Bush wards we went over and the same with the dragon pit which, by the way, is a lot safer to reach from red side since you have access to the ramp. Warding dragon is less of a boon for you though on red side since most blue side junglers won’t be following that particular gank path so you should only ward dragon if you’re worried about them taking it when on red side.

If you’re constantly pushing up to the enemy tower it’s incredibly important to keep that tribush warded since that’s by far the most common place you’ll see the jungler coming from. It’s really risky to stay pushed up if you’re not keeping vision there. If the enemy starts putting a pink ward in that bush and taking your vision, wait until you shove them into their tower again and call your ADC up to help you take the pink. The enemy ADC will be forced to focus on getting CS under tower and you’ll have a numbers advantage in taking the ward, since the enemy support is stuck trying to defend it by themselves.

The reason I don’t encourage pinking anywhere but that river bush is that there really isn't anywhere else you can defend a pink ward consistently. If you place it in the tribush and you get pushed back a little bit, you’re losing that one immediately. If you put it on dragon you’re leaving it out in the open. The bush vision goes back and forth so often that you can’t rely on that either. This pink can clear out a decent level of wards for your jungler.

The blue circle is a very defensive ward that I place when I’m fearful of the enemy coming to try and dive me and/or my ADC under tower at any point in the lane. This is once again a time where the trinket ward can do wonders, since it’s usually a specific time that you’d be worried about a dive. This ward can save a spiraling lane from getting disastrous in some cases, letting you know when to back off and give up a tower rather than your lives and a tower.

Mid Game - Defensive

Blue Side

If after laning phase you find yourself on the defensive side and being pushed in, these should be your go to wards. You want to keep some kind of vision on dragon at all times, because this is when it is a highly-contested objective. The green wards in tri and lane bushes give you info on where the enemy is going after they push the lane up. If they keep pushing up, put up a green ward over in the bush by golems and see where they go from there.

When warding for dragon if you’re able to get the whole way around into the pit, which isn’t always possible, try and put your ward inside the overhang corner right on the inside. This keeps enemy pink wards from seeing it unless they get the pink ward inside the pit, which a lot of people don’t do. Otherwise, if you’re zoned out from the pit or think they may be trying to take dragon at the time, just toss a ward over the wall and at least get the timer on it.

The pinks are a bit situational. If you know the enemy is warding offensively in your jungle, get a pink somewhere in there. I find around mid game a lot of people put a ward on the upper bush by red buff. and in the “death bush” (The small patch in the middle of the river) by dragon (this one is a bit hard to protect though).These pinks usually spot out an enemy ward and even if they don’t, having long term vision in those areas is a great thing for your team anyway.

Red Side

Red side jungle near bottom lane just doesn't have as much to cover when you’re pushed back. That’s not to say that vision in those areas is any less important, just that it takes less wards to do the same job.

Just like with blue side you’ll still want dragon vision, and even still, you might want to do the same trick I mentioned before with putting the ward inside the pit to hide it from pinks. The nice thing here is that you’ve got access to the ramp from red side meaning you can get in and out a lot safer even if you’ve been pushed back. Getting a death bush ward is nice, but even getting a ward around the side bush is great for seeing if the enemy is moving towards dragon and it’s not checked by sweepers or pinks anywhere near as often.
If you want to try and put a pink ward further up, go for it, but realize it’s going to be a bit harder to protect since you don’t have a safe way to stay up there with towers down. The pink ward by blue buff is nice once your bottom tower dies since that’s the first objective that the enemy would look to invade and steal. If the enemy bottom lane is a lot stronger than you, they could tell their jungler that and coordinate screwing up the blue buff trade for your mid laner. That’s the correct way to transfer your power to your team’s power.

Mid Game - Offensive

Blue Side

When you’re on the offensive side of things from blue, you want to try and make use of the fact that the enemy has to take a risk by walking away from their furthest tower. Remember though, you’re further away from your tower at this point too. If you’ve got the advantage you can cover dragon and basically any avenue towards it.

Getting some sight on the enemy blue buff is a great way to push this advantage. You can turn your power bot lane into a power gain to your mid lane by taking control here and messing with the trade off. Similarly, placing some vision around the same bends as a defensive red side ward will let you know how the enemy is transitioning behind the scenes. Basically, you want to imagine yourself in your enemies shoes and think about where they’d likely walk.

Red Side

Red side is harder to take advantage of when you’re ahead in lane and get pressured. There are a lot of walls that you can’t go by without putting yourself in a dangerous situation. Even the far left ward on this map is pretty scary to do if you’re not certain on enemy positions.

If you’re ahead you should be able get vision on dragon pretty easily, especially since you’ve got the ramp like we talked about earlier. The pink in the death bush is easy to protect and a much more favorable position now as well.

Tribush and outer red buff bush wards are nice for keeping track of possible ganks or invades by the enemy jungler. Warding by wraiths is extremely useful and informative, but also risky if the enemy was walking that way or saw you go in, which is decently common, you’re caught on the way out.

Late Game - Defensive/Offensive

If you’re looking at this and wondering how the hell you’re going to ward all of this by yourself, good. Because at this point, and even before, WARDING IS A TEAM ACTIVITY. There’s a lot to cover here and you need to cover it well because you’re trying to claw your way back into the game at this point. You need to catch the enemy making a transition when they think they’re safe. Realistically, a lot of these could be pink wards as well. I just put a few of the ones that I personally prefer.

If you can cover both dragon and baron, then go for it, but realize that those are 2 of your three wards going to objectives that at this point in the game you’re giving up especially if you don’t have vision in the routes leading to these. Baron is important to cover and a much bigger objective, so I think keeping a ward there is useful. Usually dragon gold becomes pretty insubstantial, so I would forgo it and try and just keep a timer on it.

You’ll also want to prioritize your wards on the side that the enemy is trying to push and control. There’s no point in warding the bottom part of your jungle if the enemy is focusing on shoving in your top lane and controlling baron. Don’t just blindly ward, use the knowledge you do have to see where you need to focus your info gathering.

I consider warding late game to be one of the hardest things to do in this game, because it is a very reactive progress. At this point, your plan is pretty much as far gone as it can be in the game. Not only do you have a lot more ground to cover, but there are a lot more people with sweepers clearing out the little percentage of area you can cover.

You also need to keep in mind that at this point you’re going to need backup if you’re going to ward anywhere that isn’t immediately close to a tower. Supports get blown up easily so walking blindly around is a great way to get killed. Make sure you note where the enemy team is or isn't when you go into fog of war.

If you’re on the offensive side of things from red side. The only thing that changes is which sides of walls you place your wards. Your goal on that aspect is to try and extend your lead by taking what used to be safe zones from the enemy.

Probably the most important thing I could state here is to keep your vision relevant. You've only got a few wards you can place, so make them count.

Late Game - Offensive/Defensive

Pretty similar concept here. Only change is the flip of the map. You’ll be able to keep better track of dragon from this side, but baron can be a challenge if you’re on red and stuck on the defensive.

Concerning the topic of moving from offensive to defensive, it’s important to continually move your wards up with where your team is positioning. Don’t just wait until you’re sieging to try and get your vision down. A lot of times that can be too late. I always try and cover my teams flanks as we move up, especially if the enemy has someone split pushing or continually separated from their group.

When you’re going to ward objectives like baron or dragon try and ward your way to them if you’re playing from behind. If you just blindly walk over to those areas you’re sure to get jumped somewhere in between. I can’t stress enough how important the buddy system is for warding in the late game. That three minutes of vision is not worth your life!

Wrapping it All Up

I think that about covers everything. If there’s something I missed or something I didn’t go into enough detail about, please let me know. I’m always looking to learn more and debate topics in League, especially about supporting. I’m also looking for new topics to cover here. If you guys have more specific topics you’d like me to cover let me know either by commenting here, PMing me on Reddit, or messaging me on Twitter. @1000EyesLoL

Be sure to check out my other articles:

By Jerrod "Thousand Eyes" Steis 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Samsung White : 2014 League of Legends' World Champions

by Reece "SabrewoIf" Dos-Santos

Worlds 2014 has been a roller coaster of plays, tears, upsets and high flying performances, but in the end, it was all down to Star Horn Royal Club’s second consecutive finals appearance against Samsung White, who crashed out in groups last year as Samsung Ozone. A lot had changed for both teams, and their respective rides to the finals were both fairly similar in being overlooked by some in favour of other teams from their region as well as being predicted winners by others.


The ban phase from both teams throughout the four matches that were played was static at best. Samsung White was relentless in their commitment to remove Lee Sin and Lucian from all games played while Star Horn Royal Club also shared the same conviction in continuously banning out Alistar and Zilean. Staying on the topic of trends, Star Horn Royal Club also showed a very strong belief in Tristana and Ryze, who both featured in every game for them except game three. I believe their desperation in trying to outscale SSW is what ultimately led to their downfall in this series, as they were taken apart before twenty minutes in every single game except game three. Had Royal Club opted to try and pick a more early or mid-game peaking team comp, they may have had the opportunity to fight back the aggression and sheer dominance of SSW led brilliantly by Dandy’s map pressure.

Samsung White’s picks were successful because they always went for a team comp that had mid game power spikes and could pick individuals off with ease. They played around Dandy’s ability to perfectly execute ganks and skirmishes while continuously punishing the time it took for SHR’s comps to scale. Game 3 was the only one where their picks didn't particularly synergize and the Singed never did have as much impact as when Looper was on Kassadin, Maokai and Rumble. Similarly to how SHR relied a lot on Tristana as an ADC pick, Twitch was also taken by SSW in three of the four games and put to a much greater use than the Tristana pick. If anything, these games certainly stood out as a demonstration of exactly how you put down and keep down a Tristana, even in comps designed to prioritize her.


Royal Club, in game one, tried to go for a standard “Uzi protection” team comp that relied on Tristana hyper scaling into the late game with Janna and Orianna shields to prevent her ever being taken down. While this had worked in past games and Uzi is undeniably one of the best AD Carries in the world, Samsung White’s early to mid-game domination was simply too much for SHRC to handle and their Hyper carry comp never really got a chance to breathe. First Blood was secured at around 1:20, Dandy wasted no time controlling the enemy jungle with wards and pinks which then allowed for an easy second kill on the bottom lane. By fifteen minutes the score of the first game was 0/6, which went on to also be the story of games two and four. Insec’s performance was particularly lacking in the face of near perfection in Dandy and the pressure really seemed to get to him the most out of all the players on Royal Club. In game one he was killed by the same Jayce shockblast combo twice in quick succession; in game two he failed to secure an easy to kill on Pawn because he decided to walk away and let Damage Over Time deal the killing blow instead of simply attack one more time which allowed for Pawn to escape with a last second Janna shield. Insec’s failure to be relevant in any way compared to his counterpart is only the worst example as every member of Star Horn Royal paled in comparison to the Koreans and even Uzi who was really hyped up failed to put up any kind of relevant showing in games one, two and four. Once he finally got a chance to scale, though down to SSW’s questionable and overconfident picks and choices in game three, he showed what he’s known for but the beast was tamed whenever Samsung White had their feet on the pedal.

If I had to pick a standout performer of the series I would have no choice but to pick Dandy. He completely suppressed Star Horn’s lanes with well-timed ganks, counter ganks and flawless vision control. A lot of Samsung White’s ability to be so frightening is down to how well he and Mata light up the map, his ganks were covered by his team as well as circles of vision to ensure no blank spots could allude to potential danger. It was as close to perfect jungling as I’ve ever seen in my time watching professional League Of Legends, in both synergy and single-handed brilliance.

The question now is what will happen to Samsung White in the coming months, if they can maintain this level of beautiful gameplay it's more than possible that they can be the first team to re-qualify for worlds after winning it. But there is every chance that they could go down the route of SKT T1 K who many also thought were absolutely unstoppable, Only time will tell.


by Reece "SabrewoIf" Dos-Santos

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Twice is Nice; SHRC Make Second Straight Finals Appearance Against Heavy Favorite Samsung White

by Matt “It’s Pure Luck” Lee

New name. New roster (mostly). Same result for Star Horn Royal Club; a trip to the League of Legends World Championship finals. It has been a fairly surprising run for Royal as they were somewhat of an afterthought in this tournament. Before Worlds began, the general consensus about the teams representing the LPL was that if any of them were to make the finals it would have been Edward Gaming. Yet, in the end, it would SHRC who took down EDG in five games, avenging the loss they suffered to them in the LPL regional qualifiers to determine the region’s top seed.

Star Horn then moved on to face off versus another LPL opponent, this time it was surging OMG. OMG looked brilliant in dismantling Najin White Shield in their previous series. This showing had people leaning on OMG as a slight favorite to win this series, but once again SHRC had other ideas. They won what was a very entertaining, back and forth series in five games, including a dominant performance in game five to close OMG out.

Samsung White on the other hand has had about as simple a road to the finals as you could ask for. Not because of the quality of opponents they have faced. Rather, they just look so dominant in almost every performance they have. The series win against Samsung Blue was one of the most impressive performances I’ve seen in League of Legends. Samsung White didn't just win; they absolutely dismantled a team that was one of the top favorites to win this tournament. It was all the more impressive because Blue is a team that has constantly given White trouble in the past. The only loss White suffered was a lackadaisical effort versus Team SoloMid when they held a 2-0 lead in that quarterfinal series.

There is no doubt that this has been a great run for SHRC. They have shocked even themselves as Uzi mentioned that even Star Horn players were not sure they could get this far. But winning this series would require a monumental effort from the entire team, both mechanically and strategically. The biggest name on Royal is Uzi and it’s for a good reason. The argument could be made he is the best AD carry in the world. SHRC has been opting to go with the “Feed the ADC” strategy and it has been working but against a team as strategically sound as SSW it will be hard to win on that alone. And let’s keep in mind that as good as Uzi his, the other half of that “Best AD carry in the world” debate will be his opposite number in Imp. Both of these players are highly aggressive and it should be a fun match-up to watch.

Outside of the bottom lane match-up, one of the biggest keys for Star Horn will be to control their aggression. Dandy is so good and always seems to be in the right place at the right time for a counter-gank. If InSec’s decision making isn't on point, or SHRC as a whole doesn't have great vision control, a poor engage can easily spiral a game into Samsung White’s favor. That isn't to say Star Horn want to play passive. That simply isn't their style. But picking their spots is going to be more crucial in this series than ever before.

As much as I would love for this series to go to five games, I cannot see it happening. SHRC has performed admirably to get this far, especially when you consider things such as language barriers between the players and a lack of extended time playing together. But Samsung White is just playing too well at the most important time of the year. Look for SSW to hoist the Summoner’s Cup tonight and take their place as the League of Legends World Champions.

Prediction: Samsung White 3:0 over Star Horn Royal Club


Friday, October 17, 2014

Season 4 World Championship Finals Preview : Samsung White vs Starhorn Royal Club

by Max

Samsung White and Star Horn Royal Club both entered into the Quarterfinals in the prestigious first seed spots of the two 'easier' groups. White was barely challenged at all, coasting through undefeated. Royal Club dropped a single game to the NA champs, Team SoloMid. So let’s examine the statistics to see how close SSW and SHRC actually are:

Not surprisingly, when you look at KDA ratios at Worlds, the top five players are all from Samsung White. While both teams dropped a game to TSM, that was White’s only loss (holding a 6-1 record), whereas Royal Club did not have an easy path getting to the finals. White dominated all their series with ease; Royal Club’s 6-4 record included two tough series that came down to the final game. If mindset matters, Samsung White will definitely has the upper hand there.

White's laning phase has been completely devastating. Mata's early game roams and Dandy’s amazing counterganks and counterjungling leaves the enemy junglers with no room to breath. Pawn performed really well, teaching Dade how to play that midlane Jayce. It is difficult to analyze SSW's comebacks and how they play with a massive gold deficit, as the team was only placed in that situation once during the tournament (in their single loss to TSM). It was a game SSW arguably lost in the draft phase, by not having any wave-clear and choosing only late game scaling carries.

Star Horn Royal Club has been playing the "let’s get UZI fed" game, and even though it's worked out for them so far, it might not be enough against White. We have seen that if they fall behind without having a hyper-carry Tristana in their pocket, they have absolutely no idea what to do. Besides being famous for his Lee Sin mechanics, inSec is also famous for his playstyle. He looks for fights and then looks for more. When Royal Club is behind, he is still constantly looking for fights instead of farming up in his jungle and waiting to countergank.

The bottom lane is where Royal Club has the greatest chance of winning. Uzi and Zero can dominate the early game, especially against imp’s favorite Twitch pick. Presumably the weaker draft will do a lane swap, and that will show how well can SRC strategically plan against SSW. Hopefully, Royal Club will bring enough of a challenge to keep the Finals interesting and stave off the 3-0 blow out most are expecting. With over 45,000 fans watching this Sunday at the Seoul Olympic Stadium and millions more tuning in from all over the world, we're hoping for a championship to remember!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

A Look at the League of Legends Preseason PBE Changes

Tons and tons of preseason changes were shipped to the PBE recently. Some are here to stay, some aren’t, and some have yet to be seen. But as with any change, there are trade-offs:


The first item change I want to mention is the addition of Righteous Glory; specifically, I’d like to thank our Rito overlords for adding another item that builds out of Catalyst the Protector. Ever since Season 3, we've only had one option when buying this - Banshee’s Veil. With the new Righteous Glory, we have an option similar to Rod of Ages that helps your team a bit more when sieging. Also, just a hunch, this item on a team with the new Sion will hurt quite a bit.

There’s another new item, though, that I don’t like so much: the Zz’rot portal. This item, intended for tanks who aren’t very good at split-pushing, spawns monsters that act as extra minions for your team and sends them to the nearest lane. A cool concept but, in my opinion, it will greatly devalue the skill of controlling side waves. This is a hard skill to learn and an even harder one to implement, as you can see when the top professional teams lose track of how a lane is pushing and end up losing a tower. If you spend the time and resources building up your side lanes and then your opponent just buys an item to spawn more minions, what’s the point in learning that skill?

There are also a slew of changes to elixirs. Some are good and exciting, but I have some deep reservations about others. The current elixirs are being removed and there are four new elixirs taking their place, so it’s not like that idea is gone. In fact, I think there will be some great uses for these new elixirs. Take the Elixir of Iron for example; paired with the Captain enchantment on a set of boots, your allies can quickly follow up when you engage on the enemy team. Or your Tristana could buy an Elixir of Wrath and stack on extra time to its duration as she gets resets in a teamfight. These new elixirs open up plenty of possibilities.

However, they also added a restriction to elixirs that seems to be pretty much out of the blue. You can no longer buy elixirs before level 9, even though this had never caused problems before. There were very few situations where anyone would do this anyways - one example being the red elixir start on Zed - and doing this was always a choice which had clear strengths and weaknesses.

Note: This item is still bad. Don’t buy it. It got some changes, but it’s still in a very awkward place.

Jungle Changes

There are a lot of changes to how the jungle works, and this is the area where we’re most likely to see more changes in the coming weeks. Little is known about these changes, but I think I can say that the four different versions of Smite will probably turn out to be a good thing. It allows for junglers to play more to their strength and what their team needs. Also, I have a feeling that these jungle changes will benefit Korean teams more than teams from any other region, since the need for “jungle smarts” is going to increase and Korean junglers currently outshine the rest in that department.

However, now you can only buy Hunter’s Machete if you took Smite as a summoner spell. Many of you may not know this (since LPL has a very low English-speaking viewership), but Chinese mid laners had begun building jungle items (usually Spirit of the Spectral Lizard) and farming wraiths every time they respawned. This new restriction on the jungle items eliminates this innovative strategy, which could have even been improved with these jungle changes (i.e. getting faster camp clear).

Read: Always kill wraiths before you go to dragon or Baron. ‘Nuff said.

Objectives/Macro Strategy/Misc.

One of the biggest changes announced was the addition of the crab patrolling the two sections of river. Now, Xypherous referred to it as a “scuttle crab,” but the client calls it a “giant enemy crab.” Whichever name goes through (but it should totally be the second one), this moving camp will be important to keep track of. This is likely going to be a good change, as long as they add special interactions between this camp and Urgot.

Still Waters is a buff introduced in these preseason changes. It gives bonus movement speed out of combat and, after standing still for half a second, 25% increased vision range and the ability to see over walls. This will be useful in many situations, from sieging the enemy’s base to contesting Baron. The only player I wouldn't give this power-up to would be a split pusher. If they’re relying on it to avoid getting caught out, then your team does not have the proper map pressure to attempt a split push in the first place.

The new dragon bonuses are certainly a little odd; stacking bonuses for each dragon you kill is an interesting direction to take things. Early dragons will likely become much more important. These changes should be good for competitive play but could go either way for solo queue, since objective control is typically better and more emphasized in competitive matches.

Dragon gets a buff, though, against your team for each time you kill it. As you challenge for your fifth dragon, it will be dealing 180% damage to your team. This means that you either have to be very far ahead of the other team to contest, or you have to rotate in such a way that you can take it without any opposition. This will probably need to be tuned down, but we’ll see.

The new Baron buff is interesting too, but the most striking thing about it to me is the massively improved recall you get when you have it. You recall in half the time and, from what it sounds like, basically get a free Homeguard enchantment on top of it. This may (and I hope, will) encourage more diverse choices when upgrading your boots - assuming boot enchantments aren’t also being updated.


By Kennan French

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Fashion in Esports

by Louis "Guichex" Lemeillet

Is it weird to talk about fashion if we're talking as subjects of a group of teens who are playing hours of video games? Maybe, although I believe even geeks, nerds or whatever you call them, have their own fashion in some way, despite being far away from the “fashion” world you see in everyday mass media. But is it weird to talk about fashion if we're looking at a sport? Clearly it isn't. Every sports has its own fashion. Basketball, American Football, Soccer, Baseball, Golf, etc. they all have a clear set of clothes which is common only to them. So why not eSports? This discipline is still new and unites a bunch of people who weren't used to being in the spotlight before. Still, every successful team is selling its own merchandise and wants to popularize it. What is different from other sports is that eSports doesn't require a special outfit, and a lot of teams seems to have a different idea of what they have to wear mainly depending on their region.

Asia wants to be classy.

Asian teams (Korean, Chinese, South-East Asian) have somewhat united to wear almost the same outfits when they're performing on stage, or at least for the upper body. A lot of teams we saw at worlds are wearing low-key polo shirts with a little room allowed for the team logo and the sponsors. Regardless, they are still visible especially when Riot is making a lot of interviews and close-ups on players. A small difference is visible for EDG & AHQ where they're wearing classic t-shirts but are almost always wearing sports jackets which follow the same rule as before: subdued logos from sponsors.

In some way, the fashion these teams are putting on is really close to what you'd find in golf. And it's quite logical: golf is a sport, but not as intense as some other sports like Soccer or Basketball. Some might categorize it as “not really a sport,” but the same could be said for eSports. Also, Golf is a sport which requires a lot of focus, mental strength and precision. Same for eSports! The only difference here is on the lower body of our favorite players. Koreans are often wearing absolutely horrible sweatpants. I mean, I wouldn't dare to wear those kind of pants outside of my house nowadays, and I don't think it sends a good image around the world, since it'll keep pro-gamers classified as “geeks in sweatpants.” They also keep wearing them in advertisements like Faker did recently. I mean...come on.

Chinese and South-East Asian players are wearing a bit more classy jeans and you have to give them props for it. I know sweatpants are comfortable for playing in, but man, jeans aren’t that hard either. It's not because you wear jeans that you'll perform worse considering the level of those players.

Europe, too much soccer?

Despite being a fan of Europe's performance in eSports, I still don't understand how some structures think regarding their team clothes. I mean, yes, we like soccer a lot, but it doesn't mean you have to copy it and import it into eSports. Why did sports jerseys, of all clothes, make the cut here? My guess is a lot of people investing in eSports come from an average social class, not especially poor or rich, but with a middle-class culture which is obviously greatly centered around the most popular sport in Europe. No other sports come close to it, and it has a clear and vast influence on a lot of people.

Coming from this social class, eSports players and fans wanted to say their passion for video games was as great as some peoples passion with soccer (or as great as their own), and directly imitated its style, importing the sports jersey you can see on a lot of European teams now: Fnatic, Copenhagen Wolves, etc.

I honestly don't think this is the best piece of clothing for eSports. It isn't, properly speaking, a physical sport. It requires a lot of focus, and while you sweat a lot during an official match for sure, I don't think it requires such an outfit. The core “physical” and psychological needs of pro-gaming is mental strength and precision, which are mostly shared within sports like golf, or maybe baseball.

North America went in the right direction but stopped halfway.

North American LoL teams have embraced eSports fashion in a different way than other countries by not trying to make it look like a traditional sport, but almost all the teams have a different style of clothes. White hoodies and sky blue T-shirts create Cloud 9's theme. Dignitas has black hoodies and CLG wears long sleeve cotton shirts. TSM players wear satin varsity jackets and Evil Geniuses scored a fashion knock out in their amazing black leather jackets. Only Curse seems to enjoy the sports jerseys (and they should fit them more, because it looks like they're way too big for some players!)

But unfortunately, the NA teams are almost too convoluted. All of them want to differentiate from the one another too much, and none of them, except Curse, are reasoning as a business by renewing their official clothes regularly. At some point, a new season into LCS should mean a new set of clothes. Fans are generally happy to see those changes and feel like they need to buy the new ones to be a better representative of the team. Yet, a lot of teams are hesitant on this point and just play around with colors to offer more than one set.

In the end, I think eSports clothing styles may actually be too diverse. Hoodies, sports jerseys, polos, t-shirts (and even an attempt at polo-shirts and hoodies from SK) can be a little weird. All these pro-gamers play the same game but none of them are wearing the same thing. It comes across as a bit disorganized. But that just means that eSports has nothing written in stone yet. I like it, because then we can only go up.

Setting up some standardized fashion code might help set values and integrity inside the community. Moreover, it helps show the world that eSports are real, that they are happening here and now and that mainstream industries needs to invest now to get the bigger piece of the cake. I think polo shirts are the best option, but it doesn't really fit with the gamer image we have in our Occidental regions. Nevertheless, it has been shown in recent studies that a lot of eSport viewers are not hardcore gamers, and looking closely into this population might deliver the answer.

by Louis "Guichex" Lemeillet

Thursday, October 9, 2014


By Reece "SabrewoIf" Dos-Santos

Europe, for me, has always been a promised land of talent for the League of Legends pro scene. Whenever you think that there won’t be another rising star, three more pop up and burst onto the scene. However, with so much rising talent, sometimes shaky infrastructure, and a tendency to hold onto well-known names too long, EU has a habit of letting some great talent slide into the shadows. So let's take a look at the top five players currently listed as free agents.

In no special order:


Gillius technically didn't qualify for Worlds 2014; he was only brought in to sub for Svenskeren due to his unfortunate racial incident in Taipei. Prior to this, Gillius had only garnered experience from playing on SK Prime and Unicorns of Love in the challenger scene. Despite this, Gillius still put up a pretty solid showing for a rookie, at times even looking better than some of the actual team veterans who struggled to adjust and compete at their best level. While one would think that Gillius would go back bringing a wealth of experience and growth for newly LCS bound Unicorns Of Love, the team made the rather shocking decision to bench him, leaving him in the unfortunate position of having played in Worlds...but not the LCS itself.

Best Team ChoiceCopenhagen Wolves

The Wolves have always been EU’s hub of promising talent, I believe they would greatly benefit from Gillius’ newly gained experience and solid playstyle.

Nukeduck, in his prime, was arguably one of EU’s best mid laners and a real force to be reckoned with, especially at the height of the Season Three assassin meta, which greatly suited his playstyle. The whole of the Lemondogs' squad were some of EU’s best in their positions and the degradation of the team and the eventual suspension of Nukeduck and Mithy was a huge waste of talent. However, with his suspension over, Nukeduck now has another opportunity to explode onto the scene and every team should honestly give him a look. The recent rumours surrounding him and Woolite possibly moving to Roccat would be amazing for the team, as a Nukeduck/Jankos partnership has the raw potential to be one of the scariest if they gather good synergy to accompany their individual talent. With so much time off to work on his attitude, his work ethic and mechanics he should now be ready to take the EU LCS by storm.

Best Team Choice: Roccat

The more I think about it, the more I believe Nukeduck can take Roccat to higher levels. I’m really excited at the prospect of a huge playmaker and arguably EU’s best Season 3 mid laner paired with arguably the best jungler from EU Season 4. I also believe Overpow might be able to properly benefit from the more farm-centric style of the top lane, where there will be less expectation to hard carry Roccat games.


After the Copenhagen Wolves had to give back Rekkles to Fnatic, many people doubted their ability to gather another AD carry who could have anywhere near the impact that Rekkles had. Then Forg1ven was picked up and all the doubt was silenced. Forg1ven was a monster AD Carry during his split with the Wolves, setting GPM, Total Gold, CS per min and Total CS records for EU and he was hailed by many as the best AD Carry in EU. Unfortunately, his fall out with the Wolves management left him unable to play during summer, but he is now free to be picked up and, in my opinion, is one of the biggest free agents EU currently has on the market to offer. His wealth of talent, fierce achievement-driven nature and prior LCS experience will get great assets to any team that take it with a pinch of salt.

Best Team Choice: Roccat

AD Carry-wise, most EU LCS teams are in a good spot. Every team expect Roccat, who currently doesn't have one. If the rumoured acquisition of Nukeduck is any kind of upgrade, the further acquisition of Forg1ven would catapult them into godly levels of potential. It would also likely leave Woolite on the Wolves allowing for Unlimited to actually play more than one split with a particular ADC.


Mithy, like Nukeduck was a member of the overnight sensation team, LemonDogs, and was one of the three who transferred to NIP only to lose their slot in the LCS, eventually leading to Mithy’s suspension with Nukeduck and Zorozero’s retirement. Regardless Mithy’s suspension time is also nearing its end and with his eligibility for the 2015 LCS spring split, he should be a big consideration for teams in need of a solid support. It should be remembered that Tabzz and Mithy were one of the best, if not the best bottom lane in Europe by the end of Season 3.

Best Choice: Supa Hot Crew (now Meet Your Makers) or Millenium 

It would just so happen that Supa Hot Meet Your Makers are missing a support player following the teams rebranding and its release of Impaler and Kasing. It has also been heavily rumoured that Amin and Mithy will be the ones to fill in the newly freed up roles. Personally, I’m not too sure whether Mithy will gel well with the rest of the team, especially Amin, but MrRallez has shown himself to be the ADC equivalent to Unlimited, putting up good performances and easily building synergy with any duo lane partner he’s presented with. Alternatively, if MYM doesn’t work out another good destination for Mithy would be Millenium. With the departure of Kerp, Millenium is a team in dire need of a leader and a fresh start. Kev1n, Kottenx and Creaton are all top class players on the right day and I feel on most days, Jree just doesn’t allow them to perform to a peak of their (especially creaton’s) potential.


As briefly mentioned, Kerp has now left Millenium in search of a fresh start. If he doesn't find a new team to settle down with, LCS casters and broadcast producers will surely be fuming at the loss of all the script they have to discuss his famous use of a trackball mouse. Despite how attractive it is to discuss, it isn't Kerp’s only asset. His raw talent is absolutely amazing and his ability to hard carry on assassin type champions is next to the best in EU. On top of this, his careful play on champions like Ziggs also provides a healthy switch between mid lane playstyles, which is impressive considering he was a top laner one season ago. Its also worth noting that Kerp was a Fantasy LCS superstar - bringing huge numbers (on his good days) for anyone who played him

Best Choice: SK Gaming or Copenhagen Wolves

If there was a better way to say I think Kerp is better than Soren and Jesiz, I would say it - but I can’t really find one. All three look the same in terms of being rather inconsistent, but generally Kerp can do a lot more a lot better and I think both teams would do well to consider how serious they are to be competing for the top spots with their current mid lane choices.

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